informa
/
Commentary

Shazam! Nokia to Develop Lightning-Detecting Cell Phone

Well, strike me down! In the spirit of saving lives (because dead cell phone users aren't very profitable), Nokia has applied to patent the use of FM and GSM technology that will detect potential lightning strikes and warn users to head for the nearest tree, er, shelter. If Benjamin Franklin could only see this!
Well, strike me down! In the spirit of saving lives (because dead cell phone users aren't very profitable), Nokia has applied to patent the use of FM and GSM technology that will detect potential lightning strikes and warn users to head for the nearest tree, er, shelter. If Benjamin Franklin could only see this!Benny boy, after all, discovered electricity. Even children know the story of Ben, the key and the kite. But Ben also invented lightning rods to protect people from being struck, and killed, by errant bolts of fire (plasma, really) from the sky. Now Nokia is developing a software version of the lightning rod and is going to stick it in cell phones. Great, now we can have our very own, personal lightning rods (lacrosse sticks and golf clubs work well, too.)

Here's how it works:


The invention involves the use of radio frequency receivers in mobile phones, such as FM radio and GSM (global system for mobile communications), to detect radio waves emitted by lightning. Typical lightning bolts produce frequencies between 10 Hz and 5 GHz. A special software program designed by Nokia analyzes the signals, calculates the distance to the lightning and informs users of imminent strikes.

Here's the patent application itself, for you physicists who are looking for a little more juice on the subject.

Obviously Nokia wouldn't do this if it didn't think there was some market for it. I suppose people who spend a lot of time outside would rank among potential customers for such technology. What about people who like to sit on rooftops?

What I want to know most is, what is Nokia going to call it? What fabulous marketing terminology is come from this? Let's give them a head start, shall we?

Here's your new Nokia phone, complete with: AntiZap Technology. Or Bolt Beware. Or Lightning Zapper. Or Personal Anti-Plasma Protection, also called PAPP. Or...

KRAKATOA!!! ________________________